📑 Review: All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater 🦉
"Here is a thing everyone wants: a miracle.
Here is a thing everyone fears: what it takes to get one.
Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.
At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles.
And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.
They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect." - From Goodreads
This book though. This writing. I have always loved Maggie Stiefvater as an author, and I continue to do so now (to be entirely transparent: i have not read the Shiver trilogy, but that is more because I have always been Team Vampire and less about the author herself).
Maggie Stiefvater manages to make the magical seem commonplace without reducing its impact, its beauty. I always find myself using the word "languid" when describing her writing, and All the Crooked Saints is no different. The story moves slowly, drawing you in with rich poetic language, honey on the tip of your tongue. And, at the centre of it all, you have the flawed, relate-able, diverse characters, and a lavish setting (the town of Bicho Raro and the desert it lies within), that become players, just as important as the Saints and Pilgrims who populate it.
There is not a lot of action, but there is a lot of feeling involved. The journeys are more personal, but they are no less meaningful. You witness the intersection of science and religion, as well as multiple generations of a family. You see how time and fear changes people, but hope and patience saves them. I am waxing poetic, I know, something I cannot help but do when I fall in love with a novel, and I recognize/acknowledge that this type of writing is not for everyone. But, it seems, it is for me.
If I had anything even remotely not dreamy and gushing to say about this book, it is that I felt the resolution/solution to the story's biggest obstacle (the second miracles, the darkness... it'll make sense when you read it ) seemed a little bit too easy. No, maybe easy isn't the right word. I think it felt like it was right there the whole time and once it was noticed, everything else got resolved, falling like dominoes. So maybe what I mean to say was that the impact of finding this solution seemed to happen way too quickly considering how long it took to reach it in the first place? Maybe that makes more sense.
But, somehow even with that, it all leads back to me wanting more of the story, to learn more about the characters themselves, the members of the Soria family and the pilgrims who cannot face their darkness and the the small town they call home. I wanted to remain swimming in this desert of miracles and music and darkness and love.
I highly look forward to the next book Maggie Stiefvater writes.
(Some) Memorable Quotes:
“She had still been learning how to live with the hard truth that the most interesting parts of her thoughts usually got left behind when she tried to put them into words.”
“By relegating the things we fear and don't understand to religion, and the things we understand and control to science, we rob science of its artistry and religion of its mutability.”
“Love in the high desert is a strange thing. There is something about the climate—the remoteness, the severity of the seasons, the dryness of the air, the extreme beauty—that makes people feel more deeply. Perhaps without trees or cities to dampen the enormity of the feelings, they spread out hugely. Perhaps the hard-packed dust of the San Luis Valley amplifies them, like a shout into a canyon.”
“What a shame that both miracles and radio waves are invisible, because ti would be quite a sight: ribbons of marvel and sound stretching out straight and true from all over the world.”
“It’s an enormous sky out there with a lot of stars above it and a lot of folks underneath it, and all of us, stars and human, are missing someone in the dark.”
If anyone has read All the Crooked Saints, or any of Maggie Stiefvater's work, let us know what you think in the comments below! Comments also open to further book/movie/show recommendations, anything you’d like to see reviewed, or general feedback. We’d love to hear what you have to say!